<%-- Page Title--%> Straight Talk <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 149 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

April 9, 2004

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Noah's Ark The Sequel

Nadia Kabir Barb

So have you started building your arks yet? It looks like we are going to need them. Have I gone stark staring mad? No, not really, but it seems like the rest of the world has. Everywhere I look, whether in the papers or the television, all I see is an increase in crime of every conceivable kind, an upsurge in violence and last but not least, a frightening rise in terrorism. These days I watch the news in fear and trepidation. There is only so much a human being can absorb without feeling disillusioned and disheartened by the environment we live in. Is this where I want my children to grow up? The answer is a resounding "No". God must be watching with dismay at his creation heading, in fact careering headlong down a path that leads towards self destruction. Last time humanity abandoned Him He took radical action. He might frankly just feel it necessary to send us another flood to accelerate things along. The problem with that, then as now, is why the rest of his creations should suffer for the misdemeanours of humanity.

The bombing in Madrid left me feeling sick to my stomach. Do we have no redeeming qualities at all? I cannot fathom for the life of me what blowing up innocent people is actually supposed to achieve. Yes it instills fear in people but it does not generate any sort of sympathy for the causes that these terrorist groups are fighting for. In fact it does exactly the opposite and generates anger and loathing. It is now being reported that there is a video tape where Al Q'aeda have claimed responsibility for the latest atrocity. The man on the tape says: 'We declare our responsibility for what happened in Madrid exactly two-and-a-half years after the attacks on New York and Washington. This is an answer to the crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. If your injustices do not stop there will be more if God wills it.' (Guardian). All I can say is thank you to them for rekindling the fires of racism and fascism around the world. Being a Muslim, I absolutely reject any claims that this kind of despicable act is carried out in the name of Islam. Is it a wonder that the Spanish population is in shock first at this act of barbarism, or secondly the fact that ninety percent of the population were against the war in Iraq and cannot come to terms with the question "why us?" Whether it is Al Q'aeda or the Basque separatist terror group ETA or any other terrorist group, the value of life obviously has no meaning.

At this point in time, it does not matter whether you are brown, black or white, Muslim, Christian or Jew, man, woman or child. Somebody somewhere is plotting to kill people like you, or, quite possibly, you. And your life will be terminated in the name of a cause, which you may know nothing about, may love or may loathe. Your identity won't matter, your views won't matter and your family won't matter. What will matter is that you are another civilian statistic. The measure of the terrorist's success will be the amount of terror they instill. In fact, should you actually be blown limb from a limb by a bomb in a car outside the shop where you are buying your weekly groceries, or torn to shreds by a nail bomb at your local café, you would only be another statistic in a war that has been foisted upon the unwilling civilian populations of the world. We have seen the footage of what was once that stretch of railroad in central Madrid. Yards of twisted metal and shattered rolling stock, battered and bloodied victims sitting shell shocked on the roads attended by distraught, bewildered passers-by. What the pictures cannot convey is that seconds before the blast, the bomb scene could have been any peaceful part of any city.

Tony Blair this week was reconciled with Colonel Gaddafi, who for decades was the terrorist arch demon the British public was meticulously trained by the press to fear and despise. But now we share a common enemy and with one symbolic handshake the Lockerbie bombing and decades of insurgency directed against the West are forgotten. It is a measure of how desperate things have become, that George and Tony have to look to Libya for their friends. With the bombing of Madrid, one of the last supporters of the war in Iraq was removed from power, voted out of power within 72 hours of the blast. The press in Britain ran the news of this result alongside columns speculating as to whether the British bomb, now widely regarded as inevitable, would detonate in the run up to the next election over here. But Tony and George, like Osama, will not be deterred. And we will pay the price.




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